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This Is America With Dennis Wholey

Dr. Marina Ottaway News/Business. (2011) Dr. Marina Ottaway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (CC)

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United States 11, Egypt 8, Pakistan 8, Morocco 6, Yemen 4, Syria 4, Libya 3, Tunisia 3, America 3, Bahrain 3, National Education Association 2, Nato 2, The Nation 2, U.s. 2, Muammar Gaddafi 2, Ctc Foundation 2, Israel 2, Singapore 1, Us 1, Saudi Arabia 1,
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  WHUT    This Is America With Dennis Wholey    Dr. Marina Ottaway  News/Business.  (2011) Dr. Marina  
   Ottaway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie...  

    December 4, 2011
    9:00 - 9:30am EST  

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>> every guest is dr. marina ottaway. -- our guest is, dr. marina ottaway. she is an expert on the middle east and the gulf, and has taught at universities in ethiopia, egypt, and south africa. it is good to sit and talk with you once again. in a very broad strokes of the brush, what is happening in the arab world?
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>> everything is in motion at the same time. i think it has become unpredictable and most countries. egypt is entering the most difficult part of the transition. mumbarak was ousted fairly painlessly, and now they have to deal with the future. there are plenty of civilian parties that look like to make sure that does not happen. tunisia and morocco are doing well. they have had elections. in both cases an islamic party has the majority of the ovote, but i think these are very moderate organizations. i do not think it will be a major crisis.
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they have to form a coalition government so there will be a compromise. libya is barely starting the process of reconstruction. the country is still dealing with the militia. that is the situation right now. syria is entering the state of civil war. government does not want to surrender, but is quite clear it is not going to go forward either. yemen is the same situation. the government has -- the president has supposedly step down. he is playing games. he will not step down officially until elections are held, but he is not beating as someone who is being a major politick wager in his country. i am not sure how that is going to be bald. there are a lot of questions all
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around. >> one of the reasons we wanted to invite you back was i think we talked on this program at this table seven or eight months ago, and everyone was so excited about what was going on in egypt at the time, and you said it is not a revolution, it is just the beginning. you take out the top guy, and you are still left with everyone else who surrounded the top guy. you were very cautious at that time. >> what we're seeing now is the next step. because the military was satisfied with having removed the proper diet. they thought they could keep everything else, that the own
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power will not be shaken. that there would be close to the older regimes. the last man who the military appointed was the prime minister under mubarak. we also have very clearly civilians who have understood what the military is trying to do, and want to make sure the military does not succeed. >> these elections that are happening over the next number of days and weeks in each of, how important are those elections? >> they are important to move the process for work. in other words, you have to go back to governmental institutions so you have to have an elected parliament. you have to have an elected president, a new constitution. the problem is the military right now is trying to cut all
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of these institutions of any real meaning. the parliament is not going to do much legislating. there is not going to be major decisions. the military is trying to take it away from it as much as possible to write a functioning constitution, which was the main job of the parliament. the parliament will support the 100 per cent commission to write the constitution. the military has come out with a proposal, which is not clear whether it is still in force or not -- still enforced or not. all of the others come from organizations that the military had created. so many legal unions and
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professors. essentially the power of the parliament had already been abused very much. >> let me ask you this question. this is what bothers me. when you look at yemen and the president has stepped down, and then you look very clearly at the most dramatic example, why don't the generals in the sad, ary in egypt and a why don't they give it that unless they make these reforms that they have done in morocco, that they will end up the same way muammar gaddafi ended up? the people will turn on them. why don't they get it? i did not understand it. >> why don't they get it. a>> muammar gaddafi was ripped
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apart physically. why doesn't he see that sooner or later these people will triumph. start some't they reforms? get something moving in the right direction as the king has done in morocco. >> i do not think he can conceive of a different political system. he has never known anything else. some argue there are other members of the family that are keeping him from introducing changes. >> that happens also in saudi arabia appeared that the king is out front in the minister's. the people underneath him do not want the reforms to come. ask that of every minister that has gone down in
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flames -- why didn't they see that coming? perhaps the information that gets to them is filtered, although i think this is less and less true. they can turn on the television and look at it for themselves. in >> those generals and military people in egypt have to turn on the television and see all of those people in the square and say, we better start cutting some people some slack here, or we could end up -- look at muammar gaddafi son. what will happen to him? >> i think the problem is the military in egypt sees that they need to do something. they have taken some steps, but the steps they have taken are the wrong steps. they have replaced the prime minister because he was very unpopular. they are going to someone who had been prime minister under
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mumbarak. it seems almost unconscionable why they chose that person. -- they're going to someone who had been prime minister under mubarak. we're going into philosophy. >> we will take a little break here. our guest is dr. marina ottaway, the senior associate at the carnegie endowment for the international peace. a wonderful organization. she is experienced in all of this part of the world, and let's take a little break and come back on the other side and talk about how the united states has all walked the tightrope and all of this. we will take a little break. this is america. >> "this is america" is made possible by -- the national education association, the nation's art --
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largest advocate for children and public education. the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. thegare singapore tourism board there ishiomorngetve fryon e singapore airlines, a great way to fly. honson corporation, forging a higher global standard. the ctc foundation, afo communications, and the rotendaro family trust. >> the arab league got involved serious sanctions. >> yes. this is a story that has not been well understood in this
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country. sanctions are not going to work in the end, and then what? that is certainly a value question. the story is the arab league that is a bunch of arab leaders that have always defended each other in the past and have come out strongly condemning one of them, one of their own. they realize that they understand that the public mood is such that they cannot be seen to condone the excesses' of the regime, and they have to do something. this is -- i think it is the first time. take a look they have suspended membership? take up they have suspended syria from membership. -- >> they have suspended syria from membership, and they have imposed sanctions. they're not only the sanctions
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against members of the regime, but there are sanctions against the central bank of syria, which means --[inaudible] >> travel for diplomats and such. they go pretty far. do sanctions ever work? there are evidence that has limited defense. coming outab league so dramatically and forcefully against one of their own -- that is a big step. >> the symbol is not the gesture. the functions, levitan will not respect the sub -- 11 on will not respect the sanctions. iran will not respect the sanctions. -- lebanon will not respect the
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sanctions. it will be the single. the condemnation will not be. >> let's talk about the united states and how the obama administration has handled this walking on a tight rope. in egypt, a close relationship of many years, and look at egypt's relationship with israel. that is on the table. support of the military over all of these years. yemen -- we are worried about al qaeda in yemen. the united states is involved in negotiating the president is stepping down, and granting him immunity from prosecution. saudi arabia and bahrain. there is a report talking about the tortures there. saudi arabia supported bahrain. send troops in there.
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the united states -- when do you do things because it is right? when you do things because it is politics, when you do things because it is in the nature of our own national interest? >> the obama at ministration had trouble with those different requirements in a sense. they've resisted mubarak and finally abandoned him. they have to decide whether to continue baking the military for the ball back. the u.s. wanted change in egypt. it does not want to see a revolution. the united states does not like the revolution for good reason. now they have to realize they
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cannot continue supporting the military and start breaking off from the military. it is a very and steady policy still. it is also likely there are the elections and we will see the muslim brotherhood doing very well so the united states is ambivalent about what it wants to see in egypt. in bahrain it is a major dilemma up from -- for the united states. we have a base there. we do not want to offend at saudi arabia. it is not only the biggest country in the gulf, but it is a bigger supplier of oil. we do not import much oil directly, but to the oil market in general. it does not want to offend saudi
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arabia any more than it has already offended it, but at the same time the condemnation of of the iranian regime, of the monarchy, by the report, the single commission is pretty strong. regime.ainian it is clear the opposition is not buying it. the united states is still in a very difficult situation. the biggest problem of all, of course, is syria. the regime will not fall just because of sanctions. at some point in the futures the decision of whether to participate in the military intervention will lose. >> could it be kind of like an
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aide of thing like it was in libya? -- like a nato thing like it was in libya? >> i think it is much more likely to be countries of the region. not necessarily as a member of nato. i have not heard much discussion of an intervention, but in turkey the prime minister and foreign minister have said this is the first up, and in the end and intervention cannot be excluded. >> look at all that is going on in that part of the world. why should americans care? what is at stake for america and all of this? >> we are a superpower, and as long as we want to continue being a superpower, we cannot
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say this does not matter to us. secondly, there are economic interests. there is the oil issue. it is important to the united states that nothing happens to make it impossible for the oil exports to continue. third, it is probably in the minds of u.s. policy makers is our commitment to protect israel, which is becoming more and more difficult to protect, because it is also policies. it is very difficult to pull back from this situation. >> there are areas of progress in this area, and as part of the world. we mentioned morocco. tunisia, some elections there, and that is where it all started. >> tunisia, to me, is even more
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encouraging than morocco. they had an election. i think they seem to be -- because the islamic party won the morality but not the majority of the vote, they are forced to form a coalition government that contain secular elements, and that is the best thing that could have happened to the country. it has to have the divide that exists. this is a good step. morocco, it is a bit different and a sense. the king manages to come down and protest by giving the country a new constitution.
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he makes the decision. the islamic countries will form of government. it is not a better thing in terms of trying to bring new blood in the mixture. on the other hand, it does not have the power to go too far. i do not think we have to worry about an islamic re revolution taking place. >> when people talk about this, they worry about will it be a secular government or islamic government? it does it make any difference in the long run, or is the best of both possible worlds a little bit of both? that is the way those countries operate. >> if you accept what is quite clear now, that you cannot have democracy -- you cannot have free elections in this part of the world without islamic parties playing a very important
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part, then the best thing that can happen is a coalition governments that put secular parties to work. we should not have any illusions that you can both have elections and keep the islamic out of the political approach. take a let's enlarge the canvas a little bit, because the united states and pakistan came to be at another crossroads because of the air strike that killed 24 pakistan soldiers. lord knows what that is all about. pakistan is crucial to afghanistan. how is that going to shake out? >> a lot of people would like to have an answer to that question, and i really do niot.
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we do not want to have pakistan as an enemy, but pakistan on the other hand has its own agenda. the united states looks at pakistan as part of a geopolitical game. pakistan has its own agenda that has a lot to do with boundaries. how we deal with the taliban and so forth. and for the united states to keep on working. at the same time, the united states does not want the connection. i think pakistan could be very dangerous. >> right. if they get cut loose. iraq it's a mess. you referenced them earlier in
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the conversation, and i look at it, and every time you pick up the newspaper, there is another bombing. will that ever straighten out. do you have hope there? >> it is a mixed picture. yes, there are bombing incidents. they are not at the level of the past, but there are many incidents still. on the other hand, there are muddling through in a sense. it is not a democratic system, is in the system. tense coexistence, but nevertheless, it is and coexistence. >> iran, what will happen there, and how will that work out? >> certainly they are not giving in to the sanctions. they are not forcing iran to
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resist from developing nuclear weapons, so that it will continue. and there is once again growing pressure, saying it is easier to deal with the military now before they have nuclear weapons in the future. the obama administration does not appear to have any intentions, and i am glad of that. >> when all these countries say it is absolutely non-negotiable that iran as a nuclear weapon, is that position the right position? or will they at some point have a nuclear weapon? >> i think the chances are pretty good that they will have a weapon, or have the capacity
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to create a nuclear weapon. they are being fairly cautious. it seems to me they want to have the capacity to do so. it is a fairly ambiguous situation. it is in their interest to obtain ambiguity. it became clear they are in the process -- they are close to having the nuclear weapon. >> dr. so good to be with you once again. thank you for sd e second education. thank you. >> for information about my new book, "the chance of a lifetime" and online video for all programs, visit our web site thisisamerica.net
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this is made possible by -- the national education association, the nation's largest advocate for children and public education. the american federation of teachers, a union of professionals. ponson corporation, forging a higher global standard. the ctc foundation, afo communications, and the rotendaro family trust. rotendaro family trust.
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